Rev. Joel L. Tolbert
Facebook FAQ - God's favorite
Today's question comes from a mom and daughter at the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown.
What is God’s favorite animal? (My daughter thinks it’s the koala or flamingo because those are her favorites.)
Ah, the flamingo and the koala. Yes, I am quite sure God put some special effort into the creation of those two. Flamingoes got the hot pink paint job, and Koalas got dipped in the extra-cute sauce. Let's see if scripture agrees.
In Genesis 1, the scripture tells us one vein of ancient humanity's story of God creating everything. God creates from nothing the amazing, beautiful, expanding universe and all that is in it, from the smallest microparticle to the largest galaxy, from the flamingo to the koala.
The story breaks God's creation project into time periods which we sometimes translate as days. Across those first six days, God looks over all God created and sees everything as good in God's eyes. (Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21,25) But, on the last half of the sixth day, God creates humankind, male and female, in God's own image. (Gen 1:27) Once humans are in the picture, God looks back across all God has created and upgrades God's opinion of creation. God now calls creation with humanity very good. With humanity created, God rests on the seventh day.
This suggests to me, Humans are God's favorite animals. Humans are the special creation, made in the image and likeness of God's own self, the Creator.
Then, does God have a favorite kind of human? I don't think so. God made humanity different and diverse, but we are all equally loved and special in God's eyes. The Bible reminds us, "For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial..."
God loves all humans equally, and doesn't show partiality, meaning doesn't have favorites. But God does notice how we treat each other, and pushes our treatment of one another to be more loving and just. That same verse continues, "and takes no bribe, and who executes justice for the orphans and the widows, and who loves the strangers..." (Deu 10:17)
God looks across humanity with equal love for us all. But when God sees how we do not yet love one another the way God loves us, God gives special treatment and attention to orphans (children), widows (elderly), and strangers (immigrants, people who are different, or new).
I believe God's favorite animals are humans. I also believe God doesn't have favorite humans but does give special attention and care for the youngest, the oldest, and the strangers.
Thanks for the question!
Rev. Joel L. Tolbert